A request for unlimited travel funds by the acting minister of finance and Ghani adviser Mohammad Humayun Qayoumi on Thursday elicited a strong response from Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA), some members of the Afghan parliament and ordinary Afghans.
According to IWA, the approval of the funds for the trips by President Ashraf Ghani was totally in contradiction to the law and it “creates conditions for corruption.”
Based on documents shared with TOLOnews, Qayoumi wrote a letter to president Ghani requesting that the president grants him a blank check for unlimited funding for his foreign trips.
Qayoumi’s letter reads: “Thereby, the excellency is humbly requested to approve my permanent trips abroad with unlimited expenses including the costs for residence and the return tickets,” reads the letter.
“All undertakings outside the budget which are based on favoritism and against principles can considered corruption and the government should be accountable for it,” said Sayed Ekram Afzali, head of the IWA.
The Ministry of Finance refrained from comment on Qayoumi’s foreign trip costs. But sources have told TOLOnews that Mr. Qayoumi has spent more time abroad than inside the country.
“The edict about the minister of finance does not contradict the provisions of the law,” said Shamroz Khan Masjidi, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.
In another case, a document proposed by the Office of National Security Advisor, which was leaked to the media, shows that two months ago President Ashraf Ghani approved a document assigning 150 officers from the VIP Protection Unit with ten machineguns, 150 AK47s, 150 pistols to provide security for Atta Mohammad Noor, the former governor of northern Balkh province.
“We are responsible to protect the national resources, national revenues and the national assets--both cases are against the constitution,” said Azim Kibrzani, a lawmaker.
“Taking security measures for politicians and political leaders is based on the assessments of the security forces and it is part of our security policy,” said Latif Mahmoud, deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani.